puremusic interview with Jim Lauderdale

I was surprised how long it had been since the first time we interviewed Jim Lauderdale, five years. But I've seen him play so many times since then that his music is always playing on some channel in my mind, and he's always on top of the list of musicians I most enjoy.

Jim has released a bunch of records since then--sometimes two at a time, as with The Hummingbirds and Lost In The Lonesome Pines, a Grammy winner that marked his second collaboration with Ralph Stanley. He also collaborated with Robert Hunter on Headed For The Hills and with Donna The Buffalo on Wait 'Til Spring. I like all his records, but am very partial to a 2001 release called The Other Sessions.

This recently-past Americana Conference 2006 was another double release occasion for Lauderdale. One is called Bluegrass, and the other is Country, called Country Super Hits, Vol.1. I was at the CD release for the Bluegrass record and shot some video, and we'll include some of that in the next issue. But this issue, at the end of this interview, we'll have a couple of video clips of Jim with the Country band playing tunes from the new CD. And in the Video section of this issue, you'll also see Lauderdale with four other great writers in video clips of a SESAC Guitar Pull, in its entirety.

The guy is vitally prolific as a writer, while maintaining a very busy touring and recording schedule. With Odie Blackmon, his co-writer on the Country record, he wrote 46 tunes together last year. And that's just one of his co-writers. He's got a very hairbrained sense of humor, so it's almost easy to forget what a focused workhorse the guy really is.

We have connected, or nearly connected, in the strangest of places. When I was living for five months in Shanghai in 2004-2005, Jim showed up in town to do some very special T'ai Chi training, an Eastern discipline in which I have been told (though not by him) he is a master. We talked on the phone a couple of times during his stay, and I heard in his voice the progressive frustration with how difficult the simplest things in China can be, but he always expressed it in a most comical way.

Whenever I shoot video of Jim, solo or with a band, I'm always laughing and hollering my ass off, so I apologize for that in advance. I can't help it. We consider him to be one of the most talented guys out there, regardless of what style he's playing. A writer's writer, and a singing fool.

            continue to interview